7.30.2005

Two Sense

Some thoughts to ponder from two of my favorite wordsmiths. I had to share, I've been thinking about them all day.

"Just wanted to let you know, keep spinning webs. These webs we spin are essential, they are part of "IT ALL", whatever it all is. But it is important, it is part of carrying on."
--D Hodson

"I like stories. Everybody has stories. Stories are all we have."
--N Mathisen

7.24.2005

Cut and Paste: A Crash Course in Jazz

So here's the idea.
Miranda is apparently SF's new spoken word princess, although I do seem to have my own spin on things.
Point being: In order to impress some important parties, Top Cat, the Jazz band leader, asked me to write a topic specific piece about a subject I know nothing about in two days.
So here's how I did it.

First, I picked my favorite 40 words from a jazz glossary, and spent four hours at a wifi cafe writing a sentance containing each of them. Then I printed them out, cut them up, and rearranged them before writing a semi-final draft. As it is now, I s'pose it's readable--although I'll admit after all of that, I still don't know what a piece about Jazz is supposed to sound like.


I've scrapped my intro, and I offer no disclaimers, so I'll start at the top, more for my sake than yours.
I aimed to plan what cannot be, to take the rhyme from reason but still be left with a perfect identifiable progression. I saw no channels but those I created for myself, those I had tried to cut deep through the bowels of my own inhibitions; and then he wrote me into his opus.
Without rules, I was free, but his words struck a particular chord, one of sex and flight and literary freedom of where I and he could be from here. His was a gentle crush, but pervasively clangy, slightly metallic, smelling of sweat and salt; our chorus a tactile one, inaudible but felt inside and out.
He and I and words were the perfect triad and our charts were the novels of the greats, we the two who sought to emulate--to be.
Amongst rumpled sheets and skin our chase of words was easy and incomparable, and yet sometimes, spent, I'd have to bend to his will, play impressionable and young, lay out, smoke, and watch him. I'd watch every perfect word cascade from his mouth, limbs an extension of his speech, listen to him weave intricate tales that dwarfed my abilities, this naked genius wordsmith and I his storytelling princess.
We were of singular goal, the two of us, three feet deep, trading fours, five fingers around my hip, six, seven, eight to the bar and now I'm lost, rotating, looking for a signpost as I fear putting pen to paper in his absence.
Yeah, I'll count off, just for you, set my meter in your ears. One for all of our days and two for our partings, three could be for every last mile. But four would have to be for now. For everything now and new and fresh from distance with new words, new tempo; fresh from music.

And maybe I've forgotten my pen, me, fighting the clock, my prolificness only stunted by my own broken time, constraints of work and obligation constantly on the horizon. With this, there is no pick up. No before now.
So one day I'm a jaded tuneless minstrel and the next I'm a puppeted diva and there was no bridge; I paid no dues wading through coffee shops and bars and their endless lists and open doors. I set my own cadence, made my own way and sought my own voice and then from nowhere set gracefully atop a silver platter was the soft sting of opportunity, community and comradery. They offered me an erotic fame through their voices, my task to once more relearn my own language, and so in double time I strive to reinvent my voice, meld to those I newly admire and hope that just once, they will be proud of me, see their aspirations inside my words, see me as the Monster I aspire to be.
They show me things, they show me that solos can exist among many, that the best of us can be made better, that alone and lonely are two different things. I sit somewhere outside their tight knit world of improv and spontinaity and yet at their command, they are, to me, legit; and I want in, I want to know what they know, want to understand how they can mentally categorize a feeling without words but rather a note, a bar, a standard. From behind closed eyes I can hear them, and pen in hand, I beg them to blow.

Now, I can't do what they do, but I can tell you the blues, make you feel every tear I've cried, feel every climax, every exhalation, so I'll go out with a sweet smile and a thank you and hope to god I hear your fervent clapping, see at least your nods of approval. There, behind my pulpit, my stand, I will hope that you've heard what they have given to me, that you've seen my new verbage and drive to have what they have. They now are my front line, my parters in crime, my greats, My fathers; and Thus Is Jazz.
So here's my outro:
My groove is more calculated, planned with paper and pen, but it's there. My riffs are sentances.
My walk down the page is defined by grace and want and my break will come, and you will see me shiny and spotlit--
And...my...line...is...short...and...sweet.
Sometimes I'm fortunate enough to arrive in my perfect pocket, every word timed evenly with my every thought and mood, grasping hands and skin and crumpled sheets of paper saved for another night, I and my language on one even keel, one together with one brief vision; words, ink, tears music a conduit.
This is what my Jazz fathers have given to me.

Oldfield, Hodson, Mathisen, Huntsman--I haven't titled this yet. Hmmm.
--M

7.17.2005

A New Hope

As you can probably tell from my absence, I've been agonizing over this. Really.

Here's the thing--I thought this would all be so cut and dry, you know? Like: Girl finds hilarious Canadians, girl instigates war, girl hires judges, judges decide who wins. Done and done. Hilarity ensues. Right?
Apparently not. There were several problems, loopholes, misunderstood directions, disqualifications, etc; but the one thing that remains is that a winner must (and I mean must...) be announced. So here we go.

(Ahem, ahem.)

Although I never heard from all of the judges, I did finally hear from Peter Smith, his vote being for Fromstein. That puts the tally at:

Herman--1
Fromstein--3
Lauren--3
Ben--3

A three way tie, with my vote still to be cast. Here now is a description of why I voted the way I did, and how I came to who is ultimately the winner.

All of them had great entries, but two of them stuck out specifically, namely Ben's and Fromsteins. My favorite excerpts:

"Also, with the possible exception of Lauren, I'm the best looking, and have gotten more action than everyone else in our little group put together, multiplied by two. How do you multiply action? Who cares!"
--Fromstein

"Of course, thank you Miranda, for being the weapons manufacturer to Chaz, Herman, and Dave's United States, Korea and Soviet Russia, not in that order, you can really mix it up. Actually, Chaz should be whichever's bigger, Dave whichever's angrier, and Herman whichever's further in the closet."
--Ben

For me it was clear from the get-go that it would come down to these two, and yet I was still happily surprised upon receiving their essays as they were even funnier than I had previously anticipated they would be. Perfect. Some beautiful insights were had about these two by the judges as well.
From Mark on Fromstein:
"i didn't want to vote for him cos when miranda first told me of this whole ganaydian fiasco she said his words were a) really funny and b) reminded her of me. so right away i was biased. and there is some similarity -- cadence of words; sentence patterns -- but, f me: if i had been able to scribble like that when i was in high school then i may not be where i am now (30 years old and 6 months away from returning to college). and i love that his blow-up doll is named janine."
From Hodson on Fromstein:
I've cast my finaly vote after thinking things over. Initially I wanted to vote strictly along with the titty party, but Lauren fucked that all up by not posting anything worth reading. Chaz, well, Chaz is funny... but, you know, you ever been stuck next to "the funny guy" all night? Humor only gets you so far. Oh damn it, I give it to the Jew, with Herman in close second. That's my vote, I'm sticking to it!"
From Erika on Ben:
"Ben didn't spend his two paragraphs taking shots at the other bloggers. Ben's paragraphs were brief and to the point. Although they were such, they also made me laugh in several places. He tried to make a good thing come out of his insomnia, and although I'm not sure he did tell the special girl she was the reason for the insomnia, he succeeded in making lemonade out of lemons. Ben's blog was the first, and I think will continue for a long time to come."
and finally, From Counts on Ben:
Miranda should be the winner. Clearly, she is the one who made all this happen, she manipulated all of these people into checking out her site, and it is her who comes out as the most respected of all involved parties. Even though she wasn't part of our little multiple choice selection, I'm just gonna have to write in the answer below where I filled in "none of the above". Also, maybe it's just me, but she's clearly the hottest looking, granted I can't find a picture of Lauren, but that brings me to the best point of all, none of the contestants provided a picture; one of the clearly stated rules of Blog Wars '05, and therefore all are disqualified. If, however, my choice is outside the rules for judging, and I have to select one of the Slaughterhouse 5, I'll have to go with Ben: his reply was first, to the point, and funniest. I mean cummon, "bristling with pine cones"! Hell fuckin yeah!"

Counts is a goddamn genius by the way. He's right--you all know that, right? None of them deserve to win. They should technically all be disqualified--and there's that tricky "rules" thing again. I thought alot about this idea of "rules" and "winner" and eventually remembered something I had told Chaz:

Chaz: "I will be crowned...uh, what do you call the winner of a war? The survivor?"
Me: "Oh, my dear troubled Chaz. Victor is the word you're looking for, and I'm not talking about that guy Herman's sleeping with."

Victor. I mean, what does that really mean? It has to be the one who came out on top, right? This of course begs the question: what have we been fighting for? There is one clear winner of Blog Wars '05, one who is the funniest, has the highest reader base, and did the fucking smart thing and stayed the fuck out of the whole mess.

Thao Nguyen. Congrats, kid.

That being said, I voted for Fromstien.
All my love,
--M